Is decluttering green? That’s the question that popped into my head while I was reading a HouseLogic post entitled “Resolution: Put Your House on a Diet“, which advises paring down your collection of *stuff* for a better new year. Of course decluttering is green when you recycle what’s recyclable and sell or giveaway the perfectly good things you just don’t want or need. But is decluttering overall a necessary part of green living – as in, can one live a cluttered life while still following the tenets of an eco-friendly philosophy?
Some people argue not in favor of the cluttered life, but against the current societal obsession with organization that can be in and of itself not quite green. After all, if decluttering your home requires you to buy bunches of plastic storage bins and rooms of new furniture to accommodate your newly organized lifestyle, maybe you’d have been better off staying cluttered. Ditto if you can’t sort through your unwanted possessions without feeling an intense urge to throw everything out as soon as trash days rolls around or if are one of those people who finds themselves itching to shop until you drop after decluttering because there is suddenly so much space to fill.
On the other hand, there are plenty reasons to consider the act of decluttering part of a green and balanced and healthy existence. Having too much stuff that isn’t wanted or necessary forces some people to live in houses or apartments that are bigger than they want or can afford – and that can mean unnecessarily high heating and energy costs. Sometimes the old – as in, ‘out with the old’ – is itself unhealthy, like old baby bottles made with BPAs. Clutter is also in opposition to the part of the green mantra that suggests people reduce (along with re-use and recycle). And if air quality is something that’s important to you, decluttering your home means fewer surfaces on which dust and pollutant particulates can settle.
In the early part of 2011, I personally hope to make good on the Throw Out Fifty Things challenge, and I do happen to think decluttering is an important part of green living when done right. How about you? Do you get rid of clutter as a part of living a more eco-friendly life?